Thursday, July 30, 2009

Attic Needlework

The new newsletter has been posted at the Attic Needlework site! You can find my temari featured about halfway through!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Favorite kid photo blog hop

My absolute favorite photo - Tommy holding Daddy's hand just a few minutes after he was born. The nurse took this while I was in recovery.

Tommy at about 6 weeks - sleepy baby!

This is one of my favorite photos of Tommy, taken when he was just 8 weeks old wearing the outfit our friend Julie had crocheted for him.

Halloween 2008, 17 months old and very serious!

This is one of my favorites - a true glimpse of his personality.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sad weekend

My husband and I are big fans of racing in all forms, and this weekend we heard the sad news that F1 driver Felipe Massa suffered a serious head injury during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday. The latest news reports indicate that he is expected to recover, but suffered injuries to his left eye and his future racing career is uncertain. He and his wife are expecting their first child, and we are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I've just found out that my temari have been featured in the latest Attic Needlework newsletter! As soon as the link is up on their site I'll add a link to it here. I'll upload some photos tomorrow!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I've been spending some time browsing other blogs, and have found that I'm really drawn to those that involve handcrafts, baking, cooking, gardening and simple living. When Tommy was born I found myself with a lot of free time at home, and I was looking for simple things to do while he napped. I had baked bread with my mother and grandmother as a child, but hadn't really had the time to practice since getting out into the 'real world'.

I started looking for instruction on the internet, and came across The Fresh Loaf, a website dedicated to the baking of artisan breads. If you've never visited their site, and you are at all interested in baking, take a look - it will inspire you! I worked through some of their beginner lessons and really enjoyed it! I found that Tommy's naps were the perfect length to bake in. I would start a batch of poolish (starter) the evening before, and during naps I'd knead, let rise, shape, and bake. We were eating pretty well!

I recently found a few photos of my very first breads, and wanted to share them here. The first is a loaf of cinnamon swirl I made, but I didn't want to dig out a loaf pan. I made the dough into a long, narrow rectangle, sprinkled on my cinnamon, sugar, and butter, and rolled it into a very long, narrow snake, I then coiled the snake into a swirl. Here's a photo as it came out of the oven.

Looks pretty yummy! Next is a photo after it was sliced - I had no idea what to expect, and was excited at how it turned out! It tasted as good as it looked. This was the most fun loaf I've ever made, and I think I'll always make my cinnamon bread this way from now on.

The next photo is of my third attempt at baking a boule. I was so thrilled at the texture - it finally had the nice, airy holes I was striving for! I learned that very wet dough may be difficult to work with, but makes this wonderful texture you associate with the best artisan breads. If you look at the right side of the photo you'll see the area where the texture was nicest. Even though the other loaves I baked weren't this pretty, they still tasted great!

Finally, I tried making pita breads. They puffed up nice and round and I had perfect pockets on the first try! We filled some with falafel and tahini sauce. The rest were saved to fill with chicken stir fry and they were delicious!

I'm hoping that when it cools off some here in Arizona I won't be so averse to heating up the oven, and will be able to bake again. I've been wanting to try a ciabatta, and I'd like to keep working to perfect my loaves.

Finally, I wanted to share the inspiration for all of this baking. If Tommy hadn't been born, I wouldn't have had an entire summer off of work and the free time to take on a new hobby. He's a real character, and I think this picture is so funny - he kept saying 'upside-down' and then standing like this:

We think he's a born performer. Don't we all wish for that kind of flexibility?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I'm relatively new at blogging, but I had a simple blog on Facebook, and it never really got looked at. I moved a couple of those posts here - since they're two recipes I really enjoy and wanted to share. Hope you'll try them both! I'm always looking for quick recipe ideas to allow me to feed family while still getting everything else done. I'm a novice web designer for my mom's company, and am learning the ropes as I go along. I hope to share some stories, recipes, and other ideas and tips with you. I hope you'll visit often and share your thoughts!

Since I've been unemployed

...I've been doing a lot of cooking. Found a half pork roast in the freezer that needed to be used up, so I decided to make slow-cooker taco (or burrito, enchilada - you get the picture) filling. This is the easiest recipe yet, and I tried it the next week with chicken breasts and it was great like that too. Next is to try beef - might try a chuck roast if it goes on sale soon. Otherwise any good roasting type of meat would work.

Approx. 2 lb. meat ( I cut the loin into 1 inch slices so I could brown it a bit for the extra flavor. Chicken just gets thrown in as is. I think I'll brown the beef in slices, makes it easier to break apart later)

2 cans petite diced tomatoes with green chiles - I use the original Ro-Tel, but I know there are other brands out there too.

1/2 - 1 tsp chili powder (amount depends on how spicy you like it - my folks are good with 1/2 tsp - I could go a bit hotter. I used Chili 3000 from Penzeys)

1 medium onion, chopped.

That's it! Just mix it all together in the slow-cooker, and leave it alone. I start my cooker on High to get it going, and then turn it down to Low for the rest of the day. Follow the instructions for your cooker .
When the meat has cooked for several hours - usually 5 or more, break it up into shreds with a wooden spoon. If it seems a bit too watery, you can leave the lid open a crack to dry it out.

This is really easy and yummy in anything - I think I'm going to try beef soon and try to make an enchil-lasagna with it...


Perfect Guacamole

I have tried a bunch of guacamole recipes since I moved here to AZ - it amazes me that some of them call for things like mayo (which I can't eat anyway - but why would you add something that's just fat and eggs to an already creamy, healthy fat?) I played around with one recipe that I found and tweaked it to not be too garlicky (for Mom and Dad) with a touch of heat (for me) I had some Penzey's ground chipotle in the fridge and no fresh peppers, and actually, I like the slightly smoky heat better!

Hope you try it and also that you enjoy!

3 ripe avocados, peeled
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 medium garlic clove - minced or crushed
1/2 cup diced onion (I used yellow, but red is really pretty)
scant 1/8 tsp ground chipotle (depending on how much heat you like)
1 roma tomato - 1/4 inch dice

Using a pastry blender (this works REALLY well!) or a fork, mash two on the avocados with the lime juice, salt, and chipotle powder until mostly smooth. Stir in the onion and garlic. Cut the other avocado into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces and add, along with the tomato. Fold in until mixed together, but preserving the chunkiness.
this is good right away, but the flavors blend if you make a bit ahead an store in the fridge - to keep it from darkening, I place in a small plastic storage container, smooth the top, and press a piece of plastic wrap right onto the top, sealing out the air. Each time you spoon some out, smooth it and recover with the plastic. It actually will stay green for a couple of days this way!

I love this with black bean tortilla chips!